Councillors and care providers have added their voices to the concerns of others in social care over back pay for carers for “sleep in shifts”. In a letter to the Observer last week Bridget Warr of the UKHCA and leading politicians from local authorities urged ministers to provide assistance to fill what could be a £400m bill for care worker back pay.

This story emerged last year as the common practice of some care providers of making fixed flat rate payment for sleep in hours was challenged at a tribunal. Following the ruling the government has set up the Social Care Compliance Scheme which is an opt in scheme for care providers to assess any liability that they may have for historic back pay.

Some in the care sector have estimated that the back pay could cost providers £400m and that the additional costs of carers being paid correctly in the next 4 years could be an additional £600m. These costs come in a sector already stretched and many feel it could lead to yet more providers withdrawing from care.

Experienced care professional Tray Hall said, “I am not surprised by the scale of the issue. I have worked in social care for 14 years and it has always been a frustration of mine that the lack of funding in adult social care leads to unrealistic demands being made of care workers.”

She continued, “Visiting Angels takes a different view and I’m proud that as a service we put the carer first. We take the view that if carers are paid fairly, supported well and encouraged to stay that the client benefits from better consistency of care.”